Tristan Thompson emphatically makes case for Caris LeVert to win Sixth Man of the Year

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson is of the belief that his teammate Caris LeVert should win this season’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

“I’m putting it on Instagram,” Thompson declared. “We don’t reward teams that are in seventh. We don’t reward guys who start more. Caris LeVert for Sixth Man. Start pushing that.”

Cavaliers forward Georges Niang chimed in and agreed with Thompson.

“I second that,” Niang said

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff also gave LeVert his flowers for his ability to accept a bench role for the betterment of the team.

“One of the things I’m most appreciative of with Caris is his willingness to sacrifice for the team,” Bickerstaff said. “We know if Caris was a primary offensive player on a team, he could average 20-plus points a night. But he has accepted a position, coming off the bench most nights, to just fit and help this team win basketball games. He is a complete basketball player who is willing to sacrifice for things that are greater than himself.”

The most recent winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award is Malcolm Brogdon, who averaged 14.9 points and 3.7 assists per game in 67 games with the Boston Celtics in the 2022-23 regular season. But the Celtics dealt him to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the deal that netted Boston Jrue Holiday.

Despite starting just four out of the 56 games he has played for the Cavaliers in the 2023-24 regular season, LeVert stands out as one of the team’s best offensive players. He has served as a consistent scoring and playmaking punch off the bench, as he is averaging 14.0 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from deep.

Since struggling from a scoring standpoint against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 13 (scored just two points on 1-of-6 from the field and 0-of-3 from 3-point range), he has played at a very high level on the offensive end of the floor in each of the Cavaliers’ last two games.

First, against the Houston Rockets on March 16, he dropped 21 points, seven assists, three steals and one block while shooting 8-of-14 from the field. But the Cavaliers lost to the Rockets — who own one of the longest active winning streaks in the league — by 14 points.

Then, against the Indiana Pacers on Monday, LeVert totaled 23 points and 11 assists in a game the Cavaliers went on to win by five points to improve to 43-25 on the season.

Considering LeVert is putting up impressive numbers off the pine for one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, he has a compelling case to win the Sixth Man of the Year award.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.